Being up early here in Istanbul (Morning Prayer call is 5:30 AM and the Minaret is 100 meters away), this press release from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) dropped into my inbox:
MDH and MDA are working with counterparts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and federal agencies to investigate cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection associated with eating in-shell hazelnuts (also known as filberts) purchased from bulk bins at retail food stores. Three cases have been identified in Minnesota, three in Wisconsin, and one in Michigan.
In Minnesota, all three cases were male and over 50 years of age. Cases were residents of Hennepin, Redwood, and Stearns counties. Two were hospitalized. All have recovered.
Routine monitoring by the health departments in the respective states identified E. coli O157:H7 cases with the same DNA fingerprint. The individuals became ill between December 20, 2010, and January 28, 2011. All of the cases have reported eating in-shell hazelnuts from grocery stores. Of these, six purchased them from bulk bins at these stores and the other case reported purchasing similar product in a repacked form. Four of the cases reported purchasing the hazelnuts as part of mixed nuts.
Agriculture agencies in the three states and the California Department of Public Health traced hazelnuts consumed by cases to a common distributor in California, DeFranco and Sons. This firm has recalled all hazelnut and mixed nut products distributed from November 2, 2010, to December 22, 2010. Recalled product was shipped to stores in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
It also got me thinking about the roasted chestnuts I bought on the street yesterday (see picture above).